It was any other Tuesday (or so I thought), and my fellow Byrdie editors and I were meeting with Dara Kennedy, the lovely and knowledgeable founder of non-toxic beauty boutique, Ayla. She left me with a few of her favorite products, one of which happened to be this slightly medicinal-looking acne gel from London-based line Medik8. "This is one of our best-sellers," she tells me. "It literally clears up zits overnight." I nodded politely and set it aside on my desk, having heard this promise from, oh, I don't know, every single acne product that has ever existed. A few weeks went by before I thought of the product again, and that was because I was experiencing another bout of a random breakout I had been suffering from for the past six months. This breakout would erupt randomly, without warning, and I would always wake up with a cluster of small, gross-looking whiteheads in the middle of my forehead and even sometimes reaching down to my eye area. It would last a few days, to which I was mortified to go out in public or do anything social, and then disappear of its own accord. It was the bane of my existence, and I had tried everything (and as a beauty editor, you really know I mean everything) to remedy it with no avail.
The breakout had reared its ugly (white) head yet again, and I could tell from the bumps that were appearing that I would wake up with a forehead zit situation in full force. I happened to notice the betaGel ($68) still on my desk from the prior week's deskside and decided to take it home to see if it lived up to its bold claims.
To put it shortly—it did. The gel looked like any other acne spot treatment gel, clear and fragrance-free, but I was surprised that it didn't burn like the other gels when I applied it (somewhat desperately) to my forehead before bed. The next morning, I woke up feeling resigned, knowing it was going to be one of "those days"—but it wasn't. No, I stared into the mirror at a reflection with a forehead that was completely blemish-free, where there had been a burgeoning breakout just a few hours before. No angry red bumps, or even hint of angry red bumps remained. My forehead was smooth and clear, showing no instance of the angry breakout from the night before. I was shocked. I was ecstatic. I didn't quite know what to do with myself, and so resorted to immediately shoving my forehead in my coworker's face when she walked into work that morning. (She was impressed, too, by the way). But, perhaps this was just a strange coincidence. There was always a small chance that it was one of those fluke experiences that doesn't reflect on the actual product. So, a few weeks later when the same annoying breakout started showing up (can someone diagnose me please?), I—with a wary but hopeful heart—applied Medik8's betaGel to my forehead again before bed, not knowing what to expect. In the morning, my forehead was once again smooth, clear, and bump-free. I could not believe it. I had actually found an acne product that does what so many thousands of other acne products promises: get rid of acne overnight.